Kurdistan Seeks Cinema Revival

Zankana reiterated the importance of family-friendly movie theaters. "We hope to see movies for children and for specific age groups, so as to encourage families to frequent movie theaters, especially since Erbil will be the Arab tourism capital."

Historically, the area's first movie theater, the Saladin Theater, was launched in Erbil in 1946. Five more theaters were opened by the end of the 1980s, which later turned into neglected spaces. The Saladin Theater, along with others, was demolished. Theater owners did not attempt to renovate their properties according to modern standards or to show new movies that the public would enjoy.

The history of movie theaters in Iraq goes back nearly a century, when silent movies made their way into the country. As a result, movie enthusiasts took a step to build movie theaters in Baghdad.

Abdel Hamid Zebari is a contributing writer for Al-Monitor’s Iraq Pulse. A reporter from Erbil who works in print journalism and radio, he has published several reports in local and world media, including Agence France-Press and Radio Free Iraq (Radio Free Europe).

(Picture: Greg O'Beirne)

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